Daniel Peugh is a former Chief Prosecutor for the Denton County Criminal District Attorney’s Office. He has an insider’s knowledge of local Judges, Prosecutors, and Probation Officers. At The Peugh Law Firm we try cases and we get jury verdicts. Our ability to make our case before judges and juries benefits all of our clients at every level of representation. Most of our clients do not go to trial. Still, the plea bargain offers our clients receive are based in large part on what the prosecutors know we can do if the case goes to trial.

Contact Daniel K. Peugh, Attorney at Law today (888) 724-9831

What can Daniel K. Peugh, Attorney at Law help you with?

We tailor custom defense plans for each of our clients.
Our custom plans and past successes ensure our clients
get their best possible result from their experience
with the justice system.

Theft / Fraud / Forgery / Credit Card Abuse

Theft is simple. It is an allegation that you took something that you did not have a right to have. Theft is also known as stealing. The legal definition of theft is, “A person commits an offense if he unlawfully appropriates property with the intent to deprive the owner of the property,” Texas Penal Code §31.03. This definition of theft also applies to unlawfully acquiring property using a worthless check and to the unlawful receipt of services. Whether it is shoplifting or embezzlement the seriousness of the Theft offense and the punishment involved depends on the amount of money involved.

Theft Offenses in Texas
(The Amount of Money Involved, The Offense Levels, and Punishment Ranges for Theft by Check are the same as regular Theft after the Class B Misdemeanor offense of Theft > $20 and < $500 by check.)

Theft < $100

Class C Misdemeanor

Fine Only up to $500

Theft > $100 and < $750 By Check

State Jail Felony

0 to 180 days in jaill

Theft > $100 and < $750

Class B Misdemeanor

0 to 180 days in jaill

Theft > $750 and < $2,500

Class C Misdemeanor

0 to 365 days in jaill

Theft > $2,500 and < $30,000

Class B Misdemeanor

180 days to 2 years in a State Jail Facility

Theft with 2 Prior Theft Convictions

State Jail Felony

180 days to 2 years in a State Jail Facility

Theft From a Person (picking pockets/purse snatch)

State Jail Felony

180 days to 2 years in a State Jail Facility

Theft > $30,000 and < $150,000

Third Degree Felony

2 years to 10 years in TDCJ (Prison)

Theft > $150,000 and < $300,000

Second Degree Felony

2 years to 20 years in TDCJ

Theft > $30,000

First Degree Felony

5 years to 99 years or Life in TDCJ

Defending Theft
As outlined in the “Theft by Check” section, Theft charges can be successfully defended. A very simple, yet very effective, defense to Theft charges can be, “I did not intend to steal.” This, as you might guess, is known as a lack of intent. A related defense can be “I didn’t know it was stolen or I didn’t know it was in my house or car.” Constitutional defenses also apply such as illegal stops, illegal searches and illegal arrests. Your attorney should be ready, willing, and able to fight even if all you want to do is plea. The attorney’s ability to fight will benefit you plea or trial.

What if I did it?
OK, I admit it. Real people do not like trials. Only the mutants that we call lawyers like trials. Even if you feel very strongly that you did what you are accused of, hire a good lawyer. Criminal Defense, as much as I like to brag, is not all “not guilty” verdicts and dismissals. A big part of what I do for a living, my favorite part, is helping good people that just messed up. At one time in my career I was a bulldog of a prosecutor. I know very well that prosecutors, particularly the young ones, can think that they are saving the world by throwing good people to the wolves. You must have good representation. You do not need to be “made an example of.” The fact that I do try cases and that I do get verdicts will be respected in the plea bargain negotiations. My thorough investigations always turn up defensive issues that, at least, encourage prosecutors to offer a better plea bargain.

Theft by Check

If you received a letter from a prosecutor’s office that advises you on how to get out of jail free, how to handle your case without the expense of an attorney, or tells you what to plea in court and how much to pay, contact the State Bar of Texas Disciplinary Board right away at 1-800-932-1900. It is unethical for an attorney to be on both sides of a legal issue:

Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1.06 Conflict of Interest: General Rule

1. A lawyer shall not represent opposing parties to the same litigation.

What this means in theft by check cases is that it is unethical for the prosecutor representing the State of Texas prosecuting you for theft to also advise you as to how to defend the theft allegation.

Many people believe that if they wrote the check they are guilty of theft by check. This is wrong! Many people believe that because their check bounced they are guilty of theft. This is wrong! Unfortunately, these wrong-headed ideas about bounced checks are shared by prosecutors. However, the legal definition of theft applies to theft by check allegations and to all theft allegations. Bouncing a check is not theft. An allegation of theft by check can be put in plain language this way; you wrote a check that you knew would bounce because you intended to receive goods or services without paying for them. That is, you wrote your check intending to steal.

Most people who have a check or two bounce do not intend to steal. Recall that the legal definition of theft requires that you intend to steal. Still, prosecutor’s offices everywhere prosecute bounced checks just like shoplifting cases even though there are massive legal and factual differences between the two. Worse yet, most prosecutors’ offices make it very easy for you to plead guilty or no contest and get a theft charge on your record when it comes to checks. You will be offered free jail release, the opportunity to “take care” of your case without the expense of a defense attorney, and easy “non-conviction” probation terms. They will not tell you that the charge will be on your record and it will appear to the public that you are a thief.

If you did not intend to steal when you wrote a check that ultimately bounced you should not enter a plea indicating that you did intend to steal. I wish I could offer you the free and easy terms that the prosecutors will offer you but, I cannot. Protecting your reputation in these situations is not as easy as just giving in but, it can be done. I have taken theft by check allegations to jury trial. I know what evidence juries find to be persuasive. Therefore, I know how to put together a defense that will win in negotiations and in court. I can fight for you but, I cannot fight without you. If you take the allegation that you intended to steal seriously and you are willing to put up a fight, contact me.

Fraudulent Use or Possession of Identifying Information

Fraudulent Use or Possession of Identifying Information is one of a few crimes that get lumped into the “Identity Theft” category of cases. The offense is found in §32.51 of the Texas Penal Code. “A person commits an offense if the person, with intent to harm or defraud another, obtains, possesses, transfers, or uses identifying information of: (1) another person without the other person’s consent.” Identifying Information is legally defined as name, social security number, date of birth, government issued identification number, unique biometric data, fingerprint, voice print, or retina or iris image, unique electronic identification number, address, routing code, financial institution account number, or telecommunications identifying information. Fraudulent Use or Possession of Identifying Information is always a felony.

See the chart below for the various punishments that can result in a Fraudulent Use or Possession of Identifying Information case.

Less Than 5

State Jail Felony

180 days to 2 years in a state jail Facility

More than 5,Less Than 10

Third Degree Felony

2 years to 10 years in TDCJ (Prison)

More than 10,Less Than 50

Second Degree Felony

2 years to 20 years in TDCJ

More Than 50

First Degree Felony

5 years to 99 years or Life in TDCJ

Defending Fraudulent Use or Possession of Identifying Information
Fraudulent Use or Possession of Identifying Information charges can be successfully defended. A very simple, yet very effective, defense to Fraudulent Use or Possession of Identifying Information charges can be, “I did not intend to possess.” This, as you might guess, is known as a lack of intent. A related defense can be “I didn’t know it was in my house or car.” Constitutional defenses also apply such as illegal stops, illegal searches and illegal arrests. Your attorney should be ready, willing, and able to fight even if all you want to do is plea. The attorney’s ability to fight will benefit you plea or trial.

What if I did it?
OK, I admit it. Real people do not like trials. Only the mutants that we call lawyers like trials. Even if you feel very strongly that you did what you are accused of, hire a good lawyer. Criminal Defense, as much as I like to brag, is not all “not guilty” verdicts and dismissals. A big part of what I do for a living, my favorite part, is helping good people that just messed up. At one time in my career I was a bulldog of a prosecutor. I know very well that prosecutors, particularly the young ones, can think that they are saving the world by throwing good people to the wolves. You must have good representation. You do not need to be “made an example of.” The fact that I do try cases and that I do get verdicts will be respected in the plea bargain negotiations. My thorough investigations always turn up defensive issues that, at least, encourage proseczutors to offer a better plea bargain.

Forgery

Forgery is also sometimes considered an Identity Theft crime. The Texas Penal Code defines Forgery in $32.21 and begins with the definition of to Forge: “to alter, make, complete, execute, or authenticate any writing so that it purports: to be the act of another who did not authorize the act, to have been executed at a time or place or in a numbered sequence other than was in fact the case, or, to be a copy of an original when no original existed. A person commits an offense if he forges a writing with intent to defraud or harm another.” Offenses typically arise when one person signs another person’s name without permission or one person writes himself a check on another person’s account without permission.

Any Document not Listed Below

Class A Misdemeanor

0 to 365 days in jail

A will, deed, deed of trust mortgage, security instrument, credit card, check,contract,release,commercial instrument, finanial institution authorizations

State Jail Felony

180 days to 2 years in a State Jail Facility

Money, securities, postage or revenue stamps, government record, stock,bonds

Third Degree Felony

2 years to 10 years in TDCJ (Prison)

Defending Forgery
Forgery charges can be successfully defended. A very simple, yet very effective, defense to Forgery charges can be, “I did not intend to harm.” This, as you might guess, is known as a lack of intent. A related defense can be “I didn’t know I didn’t have permission.” Constitutional defenses also apply such as illegal stops, illegal searches and illegal arrests. Your attorney should be ready, willing, and able to fight even if all you want to do is plea. The attorney’s ability to fight will benefit you plea or trial.

What if I did it?
OK, I admit it. Real people do not like trials. Only the mutants that we call lawyers like trials. Even if you feel very strongly that you did what you are accused of, hire a good lawyer. Criminal Defense, as much as I like to brag, is not all “not guilty” verdicts and dismissals. A big part of what I do for a living, my favorite part, is helping good people that just messed up. At one time in my career I was a bulldog of a prosecutor. I know very well that prosecutors, particularly the young ones, can think that they are saving the world by throwing good people to the wolves. You must have good representation. You do not need to be “made an example of.” The fact that I do try cases and that I do get verdicts will be respected in the plea bargain negotiations. My thorough investigations always turn up defensive issues that, at least, encourage prosecutors to offer a better plea bargain.

Credit Card or Debit Card Abuse

Credit Card Abuse is the offense most associated with Identity Theft. It is a State Jail Felony and is punishable by not less than 180 days in State Jail Facility and not more than two years in a State Jail Facility. Probation can be a possibility. Below is the entry in the Texas Penal Code for Credit Card or Debit Card Abuse. The offense is most often an allegation of using another person’s credit card without permission.
Sec. 32.31. CREDIT CARD OR DEBIT CARD ABUSE.

(a) For purposes of this section:
(1) “Cardholder” means the person named on the face of a credit card or debit card to whom or for whose benefit the card is issued.
(2) “Credit card” means an identification card, plate, coupon, book, number, or any other device authorizing a designated person or bearer to obtain property or services on credit. The term includes the number or description of the device if the device itself is not produced at the time of ordering or obtaining the property or service.
(3) “Expired credit card” means a credit card bearing an expiration date after that date has passed.
(4) “Debit card” means an identification card, plate, coupon, book, number, or any other device authorizing a designated person or bearer to communicate a request to an unmanned teller machine or a customer convenience terminal or obtain property or services by debit to an account at a financial institution. The term includes the number or description of the device if the device itself is not produced at the time of ordering or obtaining the benefit.
(5) “Expired debit card” means a debit card bearing as its expiration date a date that has passed.
(6) “Unmanned teller machine” means a machine, other than a telephone, capable of being operated by a customer, by which a customer may communicate to a financial institution a request to withdraw a benefit for himself or for another directly from the customer’s account or from the customer’s account under a line of credit previously authorized by the institution for the customer.
(7) “Customer convenience terminal” means an unmanned teller machine the use of which does not involve personnel of a financial institution.
(b) A person commits an offense if:
(1) with intent to obtain a benefit fraudulently, he presents or uses a credit card or debit card with knowledge that:
(A) the card, whether or not expired, has not been issued to him and is not used with the effective consent of the cardholder; or
(B) the card has expired or has been revoked or cancelled;
(2) with intent to obtain a benefit, he uses a fictitious credit card or debit card or the pretended number or description of a fictitious card;
(3) he receives a benefit that he knows has been obtained in violation of this section;
(4) he steals a credit card or debit card or, with knowledge that it has been stolen, receives a credit card or debit card with intent to use it, to sell it, or to transfer it to a person other than the issuer or the cardholder;
(5) he buys a credit card or debit card from a person who he knows is not the issuer;
(6) not being the issuer, he sells a credit card or debit card;
(7) he uses or induces the cardholder to use the cardholder’s credit card or debit card to obtain property or service for the actor’s benefit for which the cardholder is financially unable to pay;
(8) not being the cardholder, and without the effective consent of the cardholder, he possesses a credit card or debit card with intent to use it;
(9) he possesses two or more incomplete credit cards or debit cards that have not been issued to him with intent to complete them without the effective consent of the issuer. For purposes of this subdivision, a card is incomplete if part of the matter that an issuer requires to appear on the card before it can be used, other than the signature of the cardholder, has not yet been stamped, embossed, imprinted, or written on it;
(10) being authorized by an issuer to furnish goods or services on presentation of a credit card or debit card, he, with intent to defraud the issuer or the cardholder, furnishes goods or services on presentation of a credit card or debit card obtained or retained in violation of this section or a credit card or debit card that is forged, expired, or revoked; or
(11) being authorized by an issuer to furnish goods or services on presentation of a credit card or debit card, he, with intent to defraud the issuer or a cardholder, fails to furnish goods or services that he represents in writing to the issuer that he has furnished.
(c) It is presumed that a person who used a revoked, cancelled, or expired credit card or debit card had knowledge that the card had been revoked, cancelled, or expired if he had received notice of revocation, cancellation, or expiration from the issuer. For purposes of this section, notice may be either notice given orally in person or by telephone, or in writing by mail or by telegram. If written notice was sent by registered or certified mail with return receipt requested, or by telegram with report of delivery requested, addressed to the cardholder at the last address shown by the records of the issuer, it is presumed that the notice was received by the cardholder no later than five days after sent.
(d) An offense under this section is a state jail felony.

Defending Credit Card or Debit Card Abuse
Credit Card or Debit Card Abuse charges can be successfully defended. A very simple, yet very effective, defense to Credit Card or Debit Card Abuse charges can be, “I did not intend to harm.” This, as you might guess, is known as a lack of intent. A related defense can be “I didn’t know I didn’t have permission.” Constitutional defenses also apply such as illegal stops, illegal searches and illegal arrests. Your attorney should be ready, willing, and able to fight even if all you want to do is plea. The attorney’s ability to fight will benefit you plea or trial.

What if I did it?

OK, I admit it. Real people do not like trials. Only the mutants that we call lawyers like trials. Even if you feel very strongly that you did what you are accused of, hire a good lawyer. Criminal Defense, as much as I like to brag, is not all “not guilty” verdicts and dismissals. A big part of what I do for a living, my favorite part, is helping good people that just messed up. At one time in my career I was a bulldog of a prosecutor. I know very well that prosecutors, particularly the young ones, can think that they are saving the world by throwing good people to the wolves. You must have good representation. You do not need to be “made an example of.” The fact that I do try cases and that I do get verdicts will be respected in the plea bargain negotiations. My thorough investigations always turn up defensive issues that, at least, encourage prosecutors to offer a better plea bargain.

Contact attorney Daniel K. Peugh today at (888) 724-9831
in Denton, Texas, for comprehensive criminal defense.

E-mail criminal defense attorney Daniel K.
Peugh to schedule your free consultation today.